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News Archive

March 2015

Cancer rates among firefighters well above average

Cancer rates among firefighters are well above average because of repeated exposure to deadly, toxic smoke, the European Fire Fighters Unions Alliance (EFFUA) has warned

The alliance of trade unions from 12 European countries is now urging the EU to introduce tough smoke toxicity regulations for construction materials, extra funding for research into the problem and additional resources for improving health training for firefighters.

“We chose this profession to save lives, but as a result of toxic chemicals we end up fighting for our own,” EFFUA President Mikael Svanberg told a European Parliament meeting of MEPs Against Cancer (MAC). “I’m tired of going to the funerals of colleagues who have died too young as a result of cancer.”

Centred specifically around the issue of cancer rates among firefighters the discussion was co-organised by Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) and the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL).

“The cancer rate amongst firefighters is shocking and I don’t see why this issue has not been addressed yet. It is time to take action both on EU level and Member States,” said meeting chairman and Czech Republic MEP Pavel Poc.

Swedish firefighter and cancer survivor Anders Cederberg told MEPs: “I was diagnosed with occupational cancer in 2011 after 29 years as a firefighter. The prognosis is good, but no fire fighter should endure what my family and I had to endure.”

Alex Forrest, Canadian trustee at the International Association of Fire Fighters, said that a recent study by Monash University in Melbourne had found overall cancer rates were elevated among Australian firefighters compared to the general public.

“This is a concern that impacts fire fighters all over the world,” he said. “It is not one fire that is killing us; it is the hundreds we are exposed to during our career.

“The issue of occupational exposure to these deadly chemicals needs to be addressed.”

Fridge freezer delay putting lives at risk – London Fire Brigade

We are calling for fridge freezer manufacturers to act now to make their products safer. More than one fridge freezer fire a week!

Despite seven deaths and 71 serious injuries in London since 2010, we believe most manufacturers are still dragging their heels on making fire safety improvements.

There is, on average, one fridge freezer fire a week in the capital and we have been lobbying the industry to make their fridges and freezers more fire resistant for the last three and a half years.

What’s the problem with them?

Fridges and freezers are of particular concern to us because they contain large amounts of plastic and highly flammable insulation, which, if ignited, can cause large, rapidly developing fires that spread quickly, giving off highly toxic gases.

The doors and side panels of most fridges and freezers are usually covered in metal but we are concerned that many still use a flammable plastic backing which offers very little protection against the highly flammable insulation catching alight if a fire starts.

What we want to see happen

We are calling on the industry to ensure the backs of fridge freezers are made of non combustible or fire retardant materials as standard.

What we say

London Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Rita Dexter said: “Every home has a fridge or freezer and the chances are it will be plugged in and working safely for years but it is no exaggeration to say that they are potentially the most dangerous household appliances if they are involved in a fire.

“They contain large amounts of highly flammable foam insulation, often only protected by a thin plastic covering. This can be a recipe for disaster if a fault occurs or if a fire spreads from somewhere else to the fridge or freezer. They are also one of the few electrical items in your home to be always left on and these fires pose an even greater risk if they start when people are sleeping.

“Putting a simple non-combustible or fire retardant covering at the back of appliances is a relatively simple change that manufacturers can make and one that we believe would reduce the number of injuries, and potentially deaths, caused by fires involving fridges and freezers.”

The tragic death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah

The issue hit the headlines in September 2014 at the inquest into the death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah from Harrow who lost his life in a house fire which originated in a fridge freezer. After the hearing, following a submission from London Fire Brigade, the Coroner reported on the serious risk posed to the safety of consumers by the lack of any requirement to use non-flammable materials to protect the highly flammable insulation from ignition.

Shocking footage

Shocking footage filmed by the Brigade at the BRE testing facility clearly shows the dangers of having a fridge or freezer with a flammable plastic backing.

In a controlled burn test the plastic backed fridge freezer was well alight after just 90 seconds and had to be extinguished after just two and a half minutes as the fire was starting to overwhelm the testing room, while the fire set in the metal backed appliance, never really took hold, and burned for about 20 minutes before self extinguishing.

Here’s how a metal backed fridge performed in comparison

If you think there may be a problem with any of your refrigeration appliances our advice is to always unplug it and to contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician. You can also check if an electrical product is subject to a recall by looking at this database.

Finally ensure you have a smoke alarm, check regularly that it works and plan how you would get out in the event of a fire.

www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/LatestNewsReleases_Fridgefreezerdelayputtinglivesatrisk.asp

Workers contribute £32bn to UK economy from unpaid overtime

UK workers gave their bosses nearly £32bn worth of unpaid overtime last year – an average of £6,050 each if these hours had been paid – according to new analysis published today (Friday) by the TUC for Work Your Proper Hours Day.

The TUC analysis also finds that one in five (20.3 per cent) of the workforce regularly work extra hours for no pay.

The TUC’s 11th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day marks the point this year when the average person who does unpaid overtime would start getting paid if they worked all their unpaid hours first at the start of the year.

To mark the day, the TUC is calling on workers to take a proper lunch break and leave on time. Managers are also encouraged to lead by example, and to think about how they can move away from over-reliance on their staff’s unpaid overtime.

The study of official figures from 2014 shows that unpaid overtime was down only slightly from the previous year, by 0.9 per cent. The TUC believes this is partly due to employment growth taking some of the pressure off hard-pressed staff in some workplaces.

But with an army of more than five million people still working an average of 7.7 unpaid hours a week there is still a lot to do to get unpaid hours down to reasonable levels.

The TUC study also reveals that men make up 51.1 per cent of those working unpaid overtime and work a total of 1.2 billion unpaid overtime hours a year, compared to 0.9 billion for women. The TUC believes this difference results from the disproportionate number of managers who are men (66.4 per cent). Employer expectation that managers will do more unpaid overtime may contribute to excluding women from managerial jobs.

Unpaid overtime is more common in the public sector (27.4 per cent of employees) than the private sector (18.5 per cent). The public sector is benefiting from 11.6 billion pounds worth of free hours a year.

Education benefits from the most free work, with more than 1 million people doing unpaid overtime, followed by health and social work (770,000), the scientific and technical sector (500,000), manufacturing (490,000) and wholesale and retail (418,000).

The most free hours per overtime worker are in the education sector (9.7 per week), followed by the hospitality industry (9.3), mining and quarrying (9.2), the finance industry (8.7) and scientific and technical (8.4).

People in their 40s are most likely to do unpaid overtime, with 26 per cent in this age group putting in unpaid hours, compared to 20.3 per cent for all UK workers.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Staff across Britain are continuing to work among the longest hours in Europe and are not even paid for much of the extra time they put in.

“Millions of workers go the extra mile every week, boosting the profits of companies across the country while they lose out on thousands of pounds from their pay packets. And this is on top of the fact that one in five jobs already pays under the living wage.

“Bosses who encourage long hours in the office should re-think their approach as stressed, over-worked staff are often unhappy and less productive.”

ECHA authorisation application process is working

Over 100 participants representing industry, NGOs, Member States and the European Union’s authorities recently went to ECHA to draw lessons from the concluded applications for authorisation. The event is also web-streamed.

ECHA’s committees have so far adopted 63 opinions on applications for authorisation and the European Commission has granted the first authorisations to applicants.

“Authorisation application was the last of the REACH processes to be implemented since the REACH Regulation entered into operation in 2008. The process now works well and is fair and transparent. The opinions of ECHA’s two scientific Committees are based on evidence provided by the applicants and comments received during the public consultation. We have also heard and acted on the civil society’s call to make the process even more transparent,” says Geert Dancet, ECHA’s Executive Director in his opening speech of the conference.

The good functioning of the authorisation application process is of key importance to all interested parties in the REACH regulation. It ensures predictability for industry to obtain the application based on a solid business case that minimises risk while encouraging substances of very high concern to be substituted with safer alternatives in the shorter or longer term. For some substances listed in the Authorisation List, there have not been any applications received and the sunset date has been reached, meaning that they can no longer be used in the EU. Companies who have applied for authorisation have often identified new risk management measures to reduce risks of SVHCs to workers and the environment.

ECHA will continue to improve the efficiency of the application process and welcomes feedback from all sides. The Agency expects a peak in applications later this year as the latest application date for chromates in early 2016 approaches.

http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/conference-on-lessons-learned-on-applications-for-authorisation

New Canadian CSA Fume Hood Standard now Open for Review

The Canadian Standards Z316.5 Technical Committee announce that the latest version of the Z316.5 Fume Hoods and Associated Exhaust Systems is now open for public review and comment: http://publicreview.csa.ca/Home/Category/006

The public review period ends May 4, 2015. You are invited to participate in the review process and to pass this announcement on to any colleagues who have an interest in hoods, whether they be users, designers, architects, installers, manufacturers, engineers, occupational hygienists, certifiers or maintenance people.

Event: 8th International course on Age Management – Life Course Approach calls for Diversity Management

5-8 (9) October 2015 – Hämeenkylän kartano, Vantaa (Helsinki area), Finland

Main Topics

Contact: Siv Jansson, Course coordinator / Communications officer, NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki | Direct: +358 30 474 2488 | Mobile: +358 43 8241 696 | siv.jansson@niva.org | www.niva.org

Event: Ifsec India 2015 – South Asia’s Largest Security Event

10-12 December 2015

As part of the world’s leading portfolio of security and fire safety events, IFSEC India is the region’s pre-eminent authority on industrial security expertise and guidance.

The event is the centre for 15,000 industry buyers and decision makers, attending to review the latest products and innovations, build business partnerships and to conduct business and make purchases. Plus, the educational programme, which is part of the IFSEC Global Academy, attracts seasoned buyers looking to gain an overview of the market and latest technology developments while they source the products you sell.

The move to Pragati Maidan, New Delhi allows wider access to key trade markets and the growing end user community including key Government attendees. With improved travel links and a central location, IFSEC India 2015 will further cement its position within the global security market. The show attracts more than 15,000 visitors, including buyers across regions who are eager to purchase the latest solutions.

For more details www.ifsec.events/india

Event: NIVA course on Well-being at Work

19-22 May 2015 – Solo Sokos Hotel Tammer, Tampere, Finland

The course will illustrate through concrete company examples how different well-being aspects at work can be approached. The aim is to build a ‘tool kit’ with which the mental, physical, social, leadership and organizational challenges in workplaces can be approached. Focus will be on promoting well-being at work, not simply on corrective measures.

Main Topics

Contact: Siv Jansson, Course coordinator / Communications officer, NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki | Direct: +358 30 474 2488 | Mobile: +358 43 8241 696 | siv.jansson@niva.org | www.niva.org

Higher tumor rates through exposure to electromagnetic fields

Electromagnetic fields stimulate the growth of tumors in mice. This is the result of a new study by researchers from Jacobs University, which was commissioned by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, and published on 6 March 2015.

The findings do not only confirm a previous pilot study undertaken by the Fraunhofer Institute ITEM in 2010, but expand on the knowledge in two important aspects.

In a study with mice, Alexander Lerchl, Professor of Biology at Jacobs University, and his team could verify that carcinogen-induced tumor rates were significantly higher when the animals were exposed to electromagnetic fields such as those emitted from mobile phones.

“The effects on liver and lung tumors, as reported by ITEM in 2010, were fully confirmed,” says Prof. Lerchl, who conducted the investigation together with colleagues from Jacobs University and from the University of Wuppertal. “In addition we found a significantly elevated rate of lymphoma due to exposure,” the scientist explains. Furthermore, some of the effects were seen at levels below the exposure limits for the general population.

Alexander Lerchl, however, does not interpret the new data as being a proof for cancer induction through the use of mobile phones. “Our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumors. The assumption that they can cause cancer has not been proven so far,” Prof. Lerchl emphasizes. The biologist has published a large number of studies on the topic.

Additional research is necessary to clarify the reasons for the latest results findings. “We can clearly demonstrate the effects. Now new studies must aim at explaining the underlying mechanisms”, Prof. Lerchl concludes.

New study: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.02.151

ITEM study: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09553001003734501

For questions, please contact: Prof. Dr. Alexander Lerchl | Professor of Biology | Tel: +49 421 200 3241 | a.lerchl@jacobs-university.de

ECHA’s annual evaluation report published

The REACH Evaluation Report 2014 shows that a considerable share of the examined registration dossiers still requires improvement. At the same time, more registrants comply with ECHA’s dossier evaluation decisions.

Pursuant to Article 54 of the REACH Regulation, ECHA publishes a report on evaluation by the end of February each year.

http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/echa-annual-evaluation-report-published

RoSPA’s laundry capsules safety messages being taken around the world

An international campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of liquid laundry detergent capsules launches next week.

This year’s OECD International Awareness Campaign has a focus on liquid laundry detergent capsules and raising awareness to prevent toddlers and babies worldwide injuring themselves on the chemicals contained in them.

Over the past five years there have been 2,170 incidents in the UK relating to liquid laundry detergent capsules, according to the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS). Around the world, this number is around 16,000 each year.

The initiative will globally-promote safety messages and best practice, such as the work undertaken in the UK by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), to highlight the dangers.

RoSPA will be the campaign’s flagbearer in the UK, following the work it has already carried out on the issue. The safety charity’s Take action today, put them away educational campaign, which is supported by detergent manufacturers in the UK, has already reached four parts of England. The charity’s support of the Not for play, keep them away campaign in Scotland has seen a reduction in the number of A&E admissions, while in Northern Ireland it has teamed up with the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children to highlight the risks.

Other organisations around the world will also help to spread the OECD’s messages and best practice during the campaign, which runs from Monday (March 16) to March 23, helping to reach families globally.

In addition the industry’s own safety campaign www.keepcapsfromkids.eu continues to drive awareness across Europe on the safe use of capsules.

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “This is an issue we and the UK detergents industry have been striving hard to raise awareness of for the past two years, as the number of A&E admissions for children relating to liquid laundry detergent capsules is too high. The fact that the international community is now taking action is testament to this.

“The liquid laundry detergent capsules contain concentrated detergent which is released on contact with moisture. That, coupled with the fact they are colourful, tactile and can be mistaken for sweets, means they can cause harm to young children.”

If ingested the detergent can cause vomiting, coughing, respiratory problems, nausea and drowsiness; if it makes contact with the eyes it can lead to pain and irritation, and conjunctivitis; on contact with the skin it can cause a rash.

Sheila Merrill added: “The global OECD campaign builds on and supports the strides RoSPA and other organisations around the UK have already made in tackling this issue, and we are pleased the messages are being spread more widely.”

Safe storage of the capsules is vital. Parents and carers should look to store these kinds of products up high, out of reach and sight of children, or if stored in lower cabinets they should be secured with child-resistant locks. Capsules should be kept in their original container, fully closed between uses.

Labels should be carefully read, and the capsules should not be used while children are close by. Never pierce or break the capsules, do not leave them outside of their container, and close the container lid properly after every use.

If your child puts the capsule in their mouth, you should rinse their mouth and face thoroughly, and do not induce vomiting. If exposure occurs to the eyes or skin, they should be rinsed carefully with plenty of water. A doctor should be called immediately, or the child taken to A&E.

Philip Malpass of the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association said: “Cleaning products are designed to be safe to use and to provide the clean and hygienic home we often take for granted today. The accidents we see involving young children and cleaning products are avoidable and whilst the severity of the injuries are generally low, we hope that this campaign will remind parents to follow the usage instructions on the packaging, and in so doing, avoid unnecessary accidents.”

Spring Break Contact Lens Health Tips: March 2015

US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and partners are promoting healthy contact lens wear and care on social media during the week of 2-6 March 2015, just prior to many universities’ Spring Break. We aim to increase college students’ awareness of poor contact lens hygiene habits that can occur during vacation and travel. Help spread the word by sharing CDC’s Spring Break messages and materials on websites and social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.

CDC has also updated the website with additional information and resources to promote healthy contact lens wear and care throughout the year.

http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCDC/bulletins/ed3543

EEF warns manufacturers not to get caught out by CDM 2015

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, is reminding manufacturers not to get caught out by thinking that ‘construction’ means just that when the new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) come into force on 6 April.

CDM is a revision of existing regulations designed to protect the health and safety of people when building, using and maintaining premises. Planning ahead for the regulations’ introduction in April, EEF is warning busy business-owners not to fall foul of the regulations by assuming that ‘construction’ relates only to things like building new factories, extending existing premises, renovating a factory or renewing external signage.

EEF has warned its sector that the regulations define ‘construction’ in the broadest way and this could leave unsuspecting manufacturers open to potential prosecution for non-compliance. To assist manufacturers understand the potential pitfall, EEF has listed the following common practices in manufacturing that fall within the CDM regulations:

EEF explains that all of these projects – and many more – need to be managed in a formal way from the planning stages right through to completion. As a result, projects such as buying new machinery or moving machinery require a team covering the roles and duties specified by the regulations, something that can catch some unsuspecting firms out.

The manufacturers’ organisation plans to run a series of breakfast briefings across the UK to help manufacturers better prepare for CDM 2015’s introduction. “These regulations have an important role to play in protecting health and safety but there is a danger that manufacturers could inadvertently fall foul of them simply by making some very natural assumptions,” says Mike Denison, health and safety expert at EEF. “When it comes to CDM 2015, ‘construction’ doesn’t mean ‘construction’ in the sense that you or I would understand, but encompasses a far wider range of activities regularly undertaken by manufacturers.”

For more information, visit: www.eef.org.uk/cdm2015

Updating the Powered Access Industry

The 2015 International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) Summit will focus on how new technologies will change the face of the access industry in the next five to ten years and look at how existing technologies are still battling to open up new markets around the world. The IPAF Summit will be held on the same day as the International Awards for Powered Access (IAPAs) on 26 March 2015 in Washington, DC, USA.

The illustrious panel of speakers includes Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health and second in command at OSHA, and the top management from leading access equipment companies JLG and Riwal.

In the afternoon plenary session, keynote speaker Frank Nerenhausen, President of JLG, will explore emerging technologies and their potential application in the access industry under the title “Gimmicks or the Next Reality”.

Taking up the battle against equipment bandits, Stefan Ponea, CEO of Industrial Access, Romania, will show how new technology is being used to combat old fashioned crime.

Norty Turner, CEO of Riwal, will report on rental operations in emerging powered access markets.

An update on the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration OSHA’s battle to prevent falls from height will be given by Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Labor.

Sharing her journey to uncover new powered access markets, Sibel Aygül, Marketing & Sales Manager, Up Makine, Turkey, will show how it pays to take powered access to remote areas.

Audrey Courant from Ducker Research presents IPAF’s latest research into the size of the MEWP rental sector and presents IPAF’s forecasts for the coming year. Joanne Ulnick, CEO of Ducker Worldwide, looks at the impact of market dynamics on rental companies.

The morning session will be devoted to a range of current topics in the powered access industry, ranging from the Smart PAL Card and the impact of new legislation and standards, to eLearning and how to prevent fatal injuries when working near power lines. See the full programme and speaker information at www.iapa-summit.info

The IPAF Summit conference will be held in English, with simultaneous translation into Spanish. Attendance is free and those interested should register in advance.

Berlinda Nadarajan, IPAF Information Officer | Tel: +41 (0)61 227 9000 | Fax: +41 (0)61 227 9009 | media@ipaf.org | www.ipaf.org

European Chemicals Agency four new practical guides clarify data sharing under the biocides regulation

The documents have been developed in cooperation with the European Commission and stakeholders, and particularly aim to help small and medium-sized companies with the upcoming deadline for inclusion on the Article 95 list.

From 1 September 2015, a biocidal product consisting of, containing, or generating a relevant substance, cannot be made available on the EU market if the substance supplier or product supplier is not included in the Article 95 list for the product type to which the product belongs.

The final versions will be published by ECHA in late March. However, the working documents are already now available at the link below.

http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/four-new-practical-guides-clarify-data-sharing-under-the-biocides-regulation

Event: IOHA London 2015 – 10th IOHA international Scientific Conference

25-30 April 2015, London Metropole Hotel, 225 Edgware Road, London W2 1JU

The IOHA London 2015 conference is organised by the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) on behalf of the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA).

The programme is going to be centred around and include sessions on the following themes:

For event information and online booking details visit the IOHA London 2015 website.

For any further information please contact the Conferences team | Tel: +44 (0)1332 250713 | conferences@bohs.org

Now Available: Emergency Department Ebola Preparedness Training Videos

The US CDC and the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality collaborated with numerous professional organizations to develop an Ebola Preparedness Training for emergency department personnel.

This training is made up of four modules that showcase the important planning processes, provider-patient communication techniques and cross-discipline teamwork principles that can be used to successfully handle several emerging diseases.

The four video modules are available as a YouTube playlist: Ebola Emergency Department Preparedness or on CDC’s Ebola Website.

RoSPA backs calls for safety education to be taught in schools

The UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is backing a call by the Education Select Committee to make personal, social, and health education (PSHE) statutory in schools in a bid to reduce injuries among children.

RoSPA’s National Safety Education Committee (NSEC) wants ministers at the Department for Education (DfE) to include safety education in PSHE to help reduce the toll of harm to children.

The Safety charity, which produced written evidence to the select committee, has welcomed its report on Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), published recently.

Recommendations highlighted in the report include reinstating funding for the continuous professional development for PSHE teachers and school nurses, as well as calls for Ofsted to resume its regular subject surveys of PSHE provision.

It also suggests the DfE should develop a working plan for introducing PSHE as statutory subjects in primary and secondary schools.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s deputy chief executive, said: “Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for children and young people. Statutory provision of PSHE will help reduce the toll of harm by giving children and young people the knowledge to recognise and cope with everyday hazards.”

Dr John Lloyd, NSEC chairman, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that the entitlement to high-quality PSHE, which includes safety education for all children and young people in our schools, however they are funded, is met and for them to receive a properly planned curriculum taught by well-trained, confident and competent teachers.”

REACH 2018 Roadmap published

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published its REACH 2018 Roadmap, which outlines the Agency’s milestones planned in the run up towards the final REACH registration deadline. The last registration deadline for existing chemicals will be on 31 May 2018. The deadline concerns companies that manufacture or import substances in low volumes, between 1-100 tonnes per year.

For the last REACH registration deadline, ECHA is expecting a significantly larger amount of small and medium-sized enterprises to register for the first time. Large companies may also have hundreds of chemicals in their portfolios to register.

To support all, ECHA has prepared a detailed plan called the REACH 2018 Roadmap, in close consultation with its stakeholders. The roadmap describes the different milestones and support services that ECHA plans to give to the registrants from now until the deadline.

Similarly to the REACH 2018 web pages published in October 2014, the REACH 2018 Roadmap is based on the seven phases of a successful registration process. For each phase, the relevant milestones and an estimated timing for them is presented. ECHA invites all stakeholders to complement ECHA’s actions to make sure that registrants are given the widest possible support network. ECHA is also constantly monitoring the progress in order to react in time if new obstacles for registration are identified.

“The REACH 2018 deadline may now seem distant but I really urge companies to start preparing now in order to meet the deadline successfully. All support material will be available in 23 EU languages and together with the national helpdesks and our industry stakeholders, we are committed to supporting the companies,” says ECHA’s Executive Director Geert Dancet.

Further information: https://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/reach-roadmap-published/

Event: 10th Stakeholders’ Day Conference

27 May 2015, Helsinki

The 10th conference offers participants the chance to hear the latest news and updates from ECHA, European industry associations and NGOs.

Industry participants have the possibility to book one-to-one sessions with the Agency’s scientific experts during the conference to discuss specific topics and to receive advice and guidance for key processes relevant to the implementation of the European chemicals legislation.

A detailed programme will be published on the event page closer to the event date. The conference takes place in ECHA’s premises in Helsinki and will be web-streamed live. Participation to the conference is free-of-charge.

For any event related enquiries, contact us at: echa-events@echa.europa.eu

http://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/10th-stakeholders-day

The growing evidence on standardised packaging of tobacco products

The scientific journal Addiction has published a collection of peer-reviewed research papers and commentaries that bring together key parts of the evidence base for standardised packaging of tobacco products from 2008 to 2015.

The English government recently announced that it will be putting regulations on standardised packaging to a vote before the general election in May 2015. If the vote is passed, England will be the second country in the world to mandate standardised packaging, following Australia’s example, and there is a strong likelihood that the measure would also be introduced in the other jurisdictions of the United Kingdom.

This collection documents the growing evidence base on the likely effectiveness of standardised packaging in reducing smoking.

Key findings are:

Professor Ann McNeill, who wrote an introduction to the collection, says “Arguably, for an addictive product that kills so many of its users, the tobacco industry should consider itself fortunate that, purely through historical precedent, it is allowed to sell its toxic products at all, let alone try to make them attractive through the packaging. However, it is evidence on the likely public health impact that is the primary basis for the policy on standardised packaging.”

Professor Robert West, Editor-in-Chief of Addiction, says “Even if standardised packaging had no effect at all on current smokers and only stopped 1 in 20 young people from being lured into smoking it would save about 2,000 lives each year.”

The collection is available from the Wiley Online Library: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291360-0443/homepage/virtual_issues.htm

Pharmaceuticals, personal care products could taint swimming pools: New US study

A new study suggests pharmaceuticals and chemicals from personal care products end up in swimming pools, possibly interacting with chlorine to produce disinfection byproducts with unknown properties and health effects.

Chlorination is used primarily to prevent pathogenic microorganisms from growing. Previous research has shown that many constituents of urine including urea, uric acid, and amino acids, interact with chlorine to produce potentially hazardous disinfection byproducts in swimming pools. However, chemicals from pharmaceuticals and personal care products, or PPCPs, also could be interacting with chlorine, producing potentially harmful byproducts.

“The whole motivation for examining pharmaceuticals and personal care products is that there is this unknown potential for them to bring about undesired or unexpected effects in an exposed population,” said Ernest R. Blatchley III, a professor with a joint appointment in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University. “There are literally thousands of chemicals from pharmaceuticals and personal care products that could be getting into swimming pool water.”

A research group led by Ching-Hua Huang, a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed an analytical technique that identifies and quantifies 32 pharmaceuticals and personal care products in water.

“Because professor Huang had already developed an analytical method, which is a non-trivial effort, we thought, ‘Why not use it and see what we find in swimming pools?” said Blatchley, working with Huang and former Purdue doctoral student ShihChi Weng, now a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Water samples were taken from indoor swimming pools in Indiana and Georgia.

Findings are detailed in a research paper that appeared in December in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. Of the 32 chemicals investigated, the researchers detected three: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, known as DEET, the active ingredient in insect repellants; caffeine; and tri(2-chloroethyl)-phosphate (TCEP), a flame retardant.

“The other 29 could have been present at concentrations below the detection level,” Blatchley said. “And because there are literally thousands of pharmaceuticals, this is just a small subset of compounds that could be present in swimming pools. The main issue is that the release of chemicals into a place like a swimming pool is completely uncontrolled and unknown. I don’t want to be an alarmist. We haven’t discovered anything that would be cause for alarm right now, but the bottom line is we just don’t know.”

Some chemicals are volatile, which means they can escape into the air to be inhaled. Others can be ingested or absorbed through the skin.

“Swimmers are exposed to chemicals through three different routes: You can inhale, you can ingest and it can go through your skin. So the exposure you receive in a swimming pool setting is potentially much more extensive than the exposure you would receive by just one route alone,” Blatchley said.

His previous research has shown that certain airborne contaminants are created when chlorine reacts with sweat and urine in indoor swimming pools. Pharmaceuticals may get into swimming pool water from personal care products applied to the skin such as insect repellant, makeup and sunscreen. Many pharmaceuticals that are ingested are not fully metabolized by the body and are excreted in sweat and urine.

“Urine, I think, is really the primary mode of introduction,” Blatchley said. “When it comes to pharmaceuticals, these are chemicals designed to be biologically active at pretty low concentrations. Birth control pills, for example, contain hormones. If those chemicals and others are present, especially in a mixture in a water sample that humans are going to be exposed to, then what are the consequences of that? That is a largely unanswered question.”

The findings also suggest the potential for accumulation of topically applied PPCP compounds in pools.

“Not surprisingly, the concentration of DEET was much higher in Georgia than in Indiana,” he said. “Generally, the results of this study point to the importance of proper hygiene habits of swimmers.”

The detection method uses techniques called liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectroscopy.

“We also performed experiments in the lab under much more controlled conditions where we took pure compounds of these PPCPs and we exposed them to chlorine to see how fast they react,” Blatchley said. “It turns out some react very quickly and others very slowly or not at all. We did that because we are interested not only in the chemicals that may end up in the swimming pool, but also, once they do end up there, what happens to them? Do they degrade? If so, what do they degrade to? These too are unanswered questions.”

The research paper was authored by Weng; Georgia Tech doctoral student Peizhe Sun; Weiwei Ben, a visiting scholar at Georgia Tech from the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Huang; Purdue graduate student Lester T. Lee; and Blatchley.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols, or having contact with contaminated water. RWIs also can be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and cause indoor air quality problems. A wide variety of RWI infections include gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound-related. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea.

The research is ongoing.

“What we are planning to do is look at, for example, sales statistics for pharmaceuticals and personal care products to see which ones of these various compounds are sold in the largest quantities and then to consider their structure and which of them could accumulate in a swimming pool and might react with chlorine to produce other compounds,” he said.

In the previous research led by Blatchley, it was shown that uric acid in urine generates potentially hazardous “volatile disinfection byproducts” in swimming pools by interacting with chlorine. The disinfection byproducts include cyanogen chloride (CNCl) and trichloramine (NCl3). Cyanogen chloride is a toxic compound that affects many organs, including the lungs, heart and central nervous system by inhalation. Trichloramine has been associated with acute lung injury in accidental, occupational, or recreational exposures to chlorine-based disinfectants.

The previous research suggested that about 93 percent of uric acid introduced to pools comes from human urine.

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Source: Ernest R. Blatchley III, (765) 494-0316, blatch@ecn.purdue.edu

Related websites: Ernest R. Blatchley III | CDC Healthy Swimming

Abstract

The Presence of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Swimming Pools

ShihChi Weng, † Peizhe Sun, ‡ Weiwei Ben, ‡, § Ching-Hua Huang, ‡ Lester T. Lee, † and Ernest R. Blatchley III*, †, ∥

† Lyles School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University

‡ School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

§ Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

∥ Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering Authors ... * and Ernest R. Blatchley III 2

² School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University

* Corresponding author: *E-mail: blatch@purdue.edu

The introduction of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) into the environment can be partially attributed to discharges of human wastes, which is also relevant in swimming pool settings. Little or no information exists to address this issue in the literature. Therefore, experiments were conducted to examine the presence and behavior of PPCPs in swimming pools. Among 32 PPCPs amenable to analysis by an available method, N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), caffeine, and tri(2-chloroethyl)-phosphate (TCEP) were found to be present in measurable concentrations in pool water samples. Examination of the degradation of selected PPCPs by chlorination illustrated differences in their stability in chlorinated pools. These results, as well as literature information regarding other attributes of PPCPs, indicate characteristics of these compounds that could allow for their accumulation in pools, including slow reaction with chlorine, little potential for liquid → gas transfer, and slow metabolism by humans (among orally ingested PPCPs). The findings of this study also suggest the potential for accumulation of topically applied PPCP compounds in pools. More generally, the results of this study point to the importance of proper hygiene habits of swimmers. The potential for the accumulation of PPCPs in pools raises questions about their fate and the risks to swimming pool patrons.

Event: Subsea Hydrocarbon Release Hazards

11 March 2015 in Aberdeen and 12 March 2015 in London & via Webcast

Our forthcoming event will be a half-day Technical Meeting covering “Subsea Hydrocarbon Release Hazards”. It will be held on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 in Aberdeen and on Thursday, 12 March 2015 in London & via Webcast.

A large proportion of this event will be dedicated to the dissemination of the results from the SURE Joint Industry Project. The event will take place between 12.15 and 17.00 (between 13.15 and 17.00 UK time for the webcast.

Members of most engineering institutions can count FABIG events as Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Attendance certificates are issued to delegates upon request.

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